Contrary to a tweet from a fake Twitter account posing itself as the Mariners PR Twitter account, outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Logan Gilbert were not called up to the Mariners on Monday.
The tweet fooled plenty of people because they either want the two prized prospects to join the team or think the Mariners could use the infusion of young talent to help a sagging offense and an injury-riddled rotation.
Now, if the person intent on trolling M’s fans and the media had tweeted that Kelenic was being called up Thursday they might have stumbled into a scoop.
Because Monday evening, just 15 minutes after Kelenic led off the bottom of the first with a crisp single for Class AAA Tacoma at Cheney Stadium, ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted that based on a MLB source, the Mariners were going call up Kelenic for the game Thursday against Cleveland at T-Mobile Park.
Major League Baseball sources confirmed Passan’s report. Kelenic won’t accompany the Rainiers to Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Instead, he will remain in Seattle and make his debut Thursday evening.
Asked about the report after the Rainiers’ 3-2 extra innings win on Monday night, Kelenic, who went 1-for-4, had little to say about it.
“As of right now, I just got done talking to the manager (Kris Negron),” he said. “I’m in (the lineup) tomorrow. So I’m just honestly going to be going home tonight, going to bed and getting ready for tomorrow’s game.”
With the controversy surrounding potential service time manipulation this spring based on former president Kevin Mather’s comments to the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club, Kelenic has maintained he would stay in a day-to-day mindset at all times and not focus on the situation until he got called up.
“Absolutely, that’s how I think,” he said. “I’ve told you that guys that all the time. All I can really control is where my feet are at and it’s really exciting playing here, having fans back in the stands and playing against a different team each night. You can’t beat it. So I’m excited to get back out here tomorrow and do it all over again.”
Asked if his phone was blowing up about the reports and if he was hearing from a lot of friend and family, Kelenic replied: “No, I haven’t. I haven’t gotten anything really. Because like I said, I haven’t really heard anything.”
The decision to call up Kelenic for the game Thursday does fit a logical timeline. Where the bogus tweet missed the standard of logic is with the Mariners having the day off Monday.
While teams might make the decision to call up a player on an off day, they never announce it until the day of the game. Why make the roster move official early and then run the risk of a fluke incident/injury occurring before the first pitch? Roster moves to call up starting pitchers always are made the day of the start to maximize roster space in the days before.
Also, the Mariners are in Los Angeles, which means Kelenic and Gilbert would have to take a commercial flight to join the team. Because the Mariners haven’t reached the 85% threshold of Tier 1 individuals being full vaccinated, and likely won’t for the foreseeable future, Kelenic and Gilbert would have to redo full intake protocols, which includes a period of quarantine of 48 hours or longer.
Teams also rarely call up top prospects on the road to make their debut. They wait for a homestand to provide familiarity and comfort to the player and maximize fan interest and ticket sales. And with the anticipation and excitement of Kelenic and Gilbert making their eventual debut raging throughout the fan base, the Mariners would want to take advantage of that situation.
Kelenic was batting leadoff and starting in center field for the Tacoma game Monday night against El Paso at Cheney Stadium while Gilbert hung out with pitchers and did his midweek work before the game in preparation for his next start, which presumably would come in Salt Lake City on either Thursday or Friday. The Mariners could choose to bring him up and make that start in Seattle instead, avoiding yet another bullpen start.
But Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and director of player development Andy McKay have said it often that they want Gilbert to be pitching in MLB games at the end of the 2021 season and not shut down due to early usage and his innings limit. The easiest way to control that usage and those innings is in the minor leagues where the game’s outcome is secondary to the player’s development.
Given the status of the Mariners’ lackluster and inconsistent offense, which has led to the team being ranked at or near the bottom of every major statistical category other than home runs, the eventual addition of Kelenic was a given. With so much success in his Triple-A first series, Kelenic could have accelerated expected arrival which initially seem to be projected for the homestand that started on May 27.
Here’s a look at how some of the Mariners’ top prospects fared with the minor-league season opening last week. Rankings are the MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 prospects for Seattle.
Jarred Kelenic, OF (No. 1)
You knew he would do something special and memorable because that’s how good he is and that’s what he does. He hit a line drive solo home run in his third at-bat and a towering solo homer in his fourth. In four games, he has eight hits in 20 plate appearances with six runs scored, two homers, five RBI, two walks, four strikeouts and two stolen bases.
Logan Gilbert, RHP (No. 4)
The lanky right-hander got a victory in his Class AAA debut, pitching five innings, allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts. He threw 67 pitches with 47 strikes, including 12 swinging strikes.
Cal Raleigh, C (No. 8)
The big switch-hitting catcher had just two hits in 12 at-bats, but one was a run-scoring double and the other was a two-run homer.
Julio Rodriguez, OF (No. 2)
The young outfielder had seven hits in four games, including a double, a triple, three RBI, three walks, nine strikeouts and three stolen bases.
Emerson Hancock, RHP (No. 3)
The No. 6 overall choice in the 2020 draft made his professional debut Thursday, pitching two scoreless innings, not allowing a hit with a walk and three strikeouts. He flashed an upper-90s fastball and nasty breaking pitches.
George Kirby, RHP (No. 5)
The Mariners’ first-round choice in 2019 pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
Brandon Williamson, LHP (No. 10)
The tall lefty was brilliant, showing a nasty slider while pitching four scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out nine with no walks.
Isaiah Campbell, RHP (No. 12)
Pitching in a piggyback start, Campbell pitched four innings in his pro debut, allowing one run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Kaden Polcovich, SS/2B (No. 26)
The hard-hitting infielder tallied six hits in five games with two doubles, a homer, two RBI, two stolen bases, three walks and four strikeouts.
Noelvi Marte, SS (No. 7)
Only 19 and one of the youngest players in the league, he had seven hits in six games with a double, four RBI, two stolen bases, three walks and five strikeouts.
Adam Macko, LHP (No. 15)
The 20-year-old native of Slovakia pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits with seven strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
Sam Carlson, RHP (No. 25)
He posted on Twitter that his last minor-league game he pitched was July 18, 2017. After lost seasons due to arm injuries, surgery and the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned to the mound 1,390 days later. He pitched four innings, allowing one run on two hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.